NAMU MYOHO RENGE KYO
Where we are doesn’t matter, but given his dress and the fact that he’s got a match soon, it’s safe to assume this hallway is at the arena. Sage Pontiff stands, every lanky inch of him, in vrikshasana, the tree pose, balancing on one sinewy, bare foot. His eyes are closed but he begins to speak, slowly and with purpose, moving the words together as a single breath or a single hymn. A mantra.
Sage Pontiff: Namu myoho renge kyo. “Glory to the Dharma of the Lotus Sutra.”
His eyes open, and he smiles, but his pose remains unerringly solid.
Sage Pontiff: What do those words inspire in you, Paxton?
He raises his arms to the ceiling, then brings them down in the clasped fashion of a monk.
Sage Pontiff: To me, I have always felt that its…a unification. I give glory to that which binds us all, a oneness of purpose and experience that is undeniable, right? ‘Cause it has a lot of names. Existence, right? The human condition. The force. The furies of universal law. Samsara. Musubi. Ayurveda. The idea that we all like…share something, right? The suffering and full exultant joy of this journey called life. We all do it. We wake up, we sleep, we cry, we laugh. We are all beings bound by something sacred.
Finally, Sage drops the stance, settling back onto both of his feet with an easy, confident fluidity. He has a looseness in his movement, not an ounce of worry about the violence that faces him very, very soon. In fact, his smile breaks even wider.
Sage Pontiff: Blood.
He nods, his dreads dancing.
Sage Pontiff: See they made a lot of sacrifices back in the day, right? They’d do it for rain or harvest or just to ensure that the following year was a successful one. And that’s not just in, like, random small pockets. That’s all over the place, different cultures, all sort of arriving at the same conclusive place. That’s the undercurrent. No matter what era or what upbringing we all seemed to arrive at the knowledge that sacrifice is a powerful tool. Violence is the binding element of the human condition, it’s what pushes us towards the place where all our lived experiences fold into one another. All those lives overlapping one another and showing us the real truth, that we are one. That blood unites us all.
With zero warning, Sage rears his head back and bashes himself into the concrete wall of the hallway!! He swings backwards, bowing his back almost until his locs touch his ass, and does it again, the wet thud of meat into stone popping in the audio!! The Bodhisattva slumps forwards, breathing ragged, clearly experiencing considerable pain as his shoulders shake and tremor. When he raises back up, an ugly gash has been torn open on his forehead. As the blood leaks down over his eyes, he takes his finger and slowly draws a crude third eye on his forehead, the wound as the pupil, and smiles in relaxed contentment.
Sage Pontiff: Namu myoho renge kyo. Glory to you and to me and what binds us together. Sacrifice for you and me and what binds us together. Maybe to you this isn’t what it is to me, right? Maybe you don’t believe.
The blood is leaking from his forehead, down to his cheeks, creating a sort of visual motif of tears as it slowly cascades from the corners of his eyes. The blood is slowing a little bit, the tear in his skin possibly more superficial than he wanted, but Sage looks like a holy warrior, an Aghori on the path of beheading.
Sage Pontiff: Paxton, I have belief enough for the both of us.
The Bodhisattva begins to walk forward, his loping stride not out of place at your average music festival. He raises his arms and begins to execute something of a dance, swaying his body from side to side as he moves down the hall, moving to temple drums that only he can hear.
Sage Pontiff: In the ancient traditions there is a practice called Homa, sometimes called Yajna. It is a sacrifice ritual, one where the fire consumes your offering, that you may find success and spiritual attunement. You know what they execute this sacrifice on? It’s a square. A square called a havan kunda, because the square has geometric significance that’s sacred, right? How fitting is it that we should do our Homa, our Samadhi, in a square as well?
Arms wide. Christ pose.
Sage Pontiff: Namu myoho renge kyo. Our Samadhi, Paxton. Our Samadhi of pain, our Samadhi of sacred blood. We will achieve our own cremation and burn out the three poisons from our existence, that we may be purified. That we may ascend.
Now the arms are a man calling for a hug.
Sage Pontiff: Embrace me, Paxton Ray.
His smile is always the most disarming part. And here it comes brilliant, eyes bright, inviting and warm. He wants you to come home.
Sage Pontiff: Become who you were meant to be.
There is where he leaves us. Bleeding, swaying, loose, and calm as the Buddha. He has a date with an extremely violent man.